Amy Sancetta  /  AP
Fans line up outside the security fences to enter Reliant Stadium on Sunday for Super Bowl XXXVIII in Houston.
updated 2/1/2004 5:52:24 PM ET 2004-02-01T22:52:24

Fans patiently moved through the extremely tight security outside Reliant Stadium on Sunday in the hours leading up to the Super Bowl.

Throngs gathered long before the gates opened. As they entered, their bags and jackets were searched, they were patted down and they moved through metal detectors.

“I’d rather be safe, you know,” said Mike Schuster, who lives a mile from New England’s home stadium in Foxboro, Mass. “Besides, it kind of tickled and I made a new friend.”

Schuster and his friend, Rob Ekho of Los Angeles, were among the most conspicuous fans.

Schuster’s head was shaved on the sides, where he had Patriots’ logo painted. The remainder of his hair was spiked in New England’s red, silver and blue. Ekho’s shaved head was decorated in Patriots’ colors.

“We meet every year for the Super Bowl,” Schuster said. “I’m the designated drinker, he’s the designated driver.”

For the media, security was tighter than it was at recent Olympics.

Reporters and photographers went through the same procedure as the fans. In addition, their bags were tagged and identified by number alongside their names on a sheet compiled by security personnel.

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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